Review of New Statesman, The: Complete Series One
About 15 years ago, the Sunday 10pm slot on ITV was a great place to find comedy. Many classic series filled the "pre-South Bank Show" slot, including "Spitting Image", "Hale and Pace" (back when they were funny), the lesser known "TV Squash", and of course "The New Statesman".
Described by many as a cross between "Yes Minister" and "The Young Ones", "The New Statesman" combined the writing talents of Laurence Marks & Maurice Gran (probably still most famous for "Birds of a Feather"), with the unique style of Rik Mayall. This brought us a young, corrupt, evil and vindictive MP by the name of Alan B`Stard. A name guaranteed to give a few cheap laughs, and guaranteed to be used to full effect by the writers.
The first series was broadcast in 1987 and contained the following episodes:
Happiness Is A Warm Gun
Passport To Freedom
Sex Is Wrong
Waste Not, Want Not
Friends Of St. James
Three Line Whipping
Baa Baa Black Sheep
A full frame transfer, as you would expect for a 14 year old TV show. But it has aged very well, and I couldn`t really detect anything wrong with it. Someone must have had the forethought to lock some nice clean master tapes away somewhere. We`re not talking Hollywood blockbuster quality here, just a very respectable TV transfer.
A DD2.0 stereo soundtrack, which is the original mono soundtrack replayed over the left and right channels. For the most part this is fine, with everything sounding clear and crisp without knocking your socks off.
However, as several people have noted, there are a couple of problems with sound dropouts. The first dropout occurs a few minutes into the second episode, when Alan enters the ambulance. The sound disappears for about 10 seconds, whilst the picture remains fine. I also spotted a similar problem during a later episode, which lasted for about 5 seconds. Not sure why this has happened, as the dropouts don`t appear on my VHS copies.
No extras I`m afraid.
A very good and very funny situation comedy which captured the political mood of the late 1980s perfectly. The writing of Marks & Gran is excellent, and some of the ideas still ring true today. Mayall puts in a splendid performance - there`s a bit of Rik from "The Young Ones" in there somewhere, but not enough to distract you. A good supporting cast help out along the way.
A classic slice of 1980s political satire, and one of the few genuinely funny ITV comedies. A reasonable DVD package, with good picture and good sound (apart from the brief dropouts), and reasonably priced. A must for fans of the series, and for Mayall fans who may have missed it first time round.